My life has been filled with kindness role models and while thinking about them two came to mind right away. Two very different women who have kind caring hearts. One who tries very hard to make people believe she is rough and tough but she is kind hearted and gentle. The other who shows her softer side to all but is stronger than most people I know.
The first is young, I could be her mother, and in many ways has an old soul. I worked with her for many years and we experienced many life events together. There were her marriage and births of her children. We each had surgery. There were illnesses and deaths in our families. The great company we worked for went out of business. We didn’t always agree but we did always get past the disagreements and didn’t let them come between us.
There were many kindnesses she gave to me but the one that stands out strongest was during the time of my brother’s illness. It was a very difficult time and I wasn’t always doing my share at work and emotionally I was a mess. One day I just fell apart at work and had to leave. The next day I stayed home and she came to see me. While I cried she sat next to me and said just what I needed to hear. Her words encouraged me and filled my heart with hope. I will never forget this kindness.
The second role model is a woman with a servant’s heart. After the first time we met, she texted me saying she enjoyed our chat and would I like to have lunch. That text made me so happy! Because I, too, enjoyed our chat and also because I was finding it difficult connecting with anyone at the time.
She has given me the gift of her time over and over. I know that I can call her anytime day or night and she will help any way she can. She has taken me to the doctor and sat with me when I had surgery. She takes me to the grocery store and on errands. If I am not feeling well she does the shopping and brings the groceries to me. She is a wonderful cook and shares her good food with me. She listens to me grumble and complain then makes me see the absurdity of it all and makes me laugh. She is more than a friend she is like a sister.
I have learned what kindness is from these women
and hope that I grow up to be just like them.
I am pretty accepting of who I am in many ways; I dress the way I want whether it is considered fashionable or not and my hair is usually a mess but as long as it is clean I don’t care, I have gained weight and am no longer a skinny-mini and I am fine with it though I am being careful not to gain more pounds. I am a woman of faith but no longer go to church and many of my friends don’t understand and that’s ok with me, they don’t have to understand or like my choice. I am quiet and spend a lot of time alone with occasional visits with friends and that is a good balance for me. So, there is self-acceptance in my life.
However, while thinking about Niki’s challenge this week I learned that though I do like myself and where I am in life but there is a place in my being that I am just learning to accept.
It is a chronic physical issue. Nothing that will kill me, just makes life difficult sometimes. Really, it is nothing when compared to people with major diseases and disabilities. But it is a part of myself that is not easy to accept. I hate it! When it rears its ugly head I tend to judge myself harshly, thinking I should be able to get over this problem and not be so weak. I should be able to carry on as usual and go about my day without interruption. But the fact is, I cannot get over this and when it flares I cannot carry on as usual without interruption to my day, I can only accept it for what it is, part of me. Sometimes, self-acceptance takes a lot of work! But I have found that with self-acceptance comes the gift of loving others as they are without conditions or expectations and that makes the work worth the effort.
Niki at The Richness of a Simple Life has her Kindness Challenge for 2017 up and ready to go. For seven weeks there will be a kindness challenge for the week. Niki will give a prompt and some thoughts to help get us thinking. The first three weeks the prompts will be with the inward focus of self-kindness and the following four will be outward, focusing on others and how we relate to them with kindness.
My intention in doing this challenge is simply to be more aware of the where, what, when, why, who, and how of kindness in my life. I know I am not unkind but I am often unthoughtful or absent to the kindness needed around me. I sometimes allow busyness or laziness to excuse my inattention of those around me. They may be friends or acquaintances who would benefit from kind attention from me or perhaps there is someone I don’t know personally but know of who needs kindness shared with them.
I participated in last year’s Kindness Challenge and it was something of a challenge…I wasn’t always comfortable with what I was being made aware of but it was worth a little discomfort to be given some insight to who I am and how to become a better me.
See you later in the week with my response to the first week’s prompt…Self-love.
There are many in my life who are kind but there are three women who truly inspire me
to be kinder because they are examples of kindness in action.
I have seen and heard of their loving kindness in action countless times.
Often I am the recipient of their love and kindness.
These women have servant’s hearts.
They see a need and they do what they can to meet it.
When asked for help they are ready and willing to give in any way they can.
Most often they help without being asked.
They just show up when and where there is a need.
They serve people they know well and people who are strangers.
Each one of these women came into my life at a different time.
They came with gifts to share; gifts I needed at that time.
They inspire me to become more of a servant, more loving, and kinder.
To have one such friend is a blessing to have three is a miracle of blessings!
Several years ago I began focusing on gratitude in my daily life. I determined that I would be thankful every day. Believe me, when I say that some days it was hard to be thankful. And still there are days I feel less than thankful. But I have learned to take some time throughout the day to really think about what is happening in my little bit of the world, perhaps for just a minute or two then the day goes on as it will. That minute or two can be what keeps me from losing my temper, being frustrated, feeling depressed or sad, seeing only the negative and not recognizing the blessings that are all around me.
My daily mantra is Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”. It is part of my morning prayers every morning. Some days I don’t feel like rejoicing and I am not glad but I pray it anyway. Before I go to bed I pray again thankful that I had another day and there is always something in the day that gave me joy. Admittedly, some nights I have to search for that one thing but joy is there. Always.
You may think this week’s challenge was not challenging for me but it was. So often I take for granted the kindness and goodness of those around me. Sadly, sometimes I just don’t notice it. There is lots of room for improvement in this woman and I am working on it.
Click on the links above to read about the Kindness Challenge and Tuesday Chatter.